Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings
By Joel Chandler Harris
PREFACE AND DEDICATION TO THE NEW EDITION
To Arthur Barbette Frost:
I am expected to supply a preface for this new edition of my first book—to advance from behind the curtain, as it were, and make a fresh bow to the public that has dealt with Uncle Remus in so gentle and generous a fashion. For this event the lights are to be rekindled, and I am expected to respond in some formal way to an encore that marks the fifteenth anniversary of the book. There have been other editions—how many I do not remember—but this is to be an entirely new one, except as to the matter: new type, new pictures, and new binding.
But, as frequently happens on such occasions, I am at a loss for a word. I seem to see before me the smiling faces of thousands of children—some young and fresh, and some wearing the friendly marks of age, but all children at heart—and not an unfriendly face among them. And out of the confusion, and while I am trying hard to speak the right word, I seem to hear a voice lifted above the rest, saying "You have made some of us happy." And so I feel my heart fluttering and my lips trembling, and I have to how silently and him away, and hurry back into the obscurity that fits me best.
Phantoms! Children of dreams! True, my dear Frost; but if you could see the thousands of letters that have come to me from far and near, and all fresh from the hearts and hands of children, and from men and women who have not forgotten how to be children, you would not wonder at the dream. And such a dream can do no harm. Insubstantial though it may be, I would not at this hour exchange it for all the fame won by my mightier brethren of the pen—whom I most humbly salute.
Measured by the material developments that have compressed years of experience into the space of a day, thus increasing the possibilities of life, if not its beauty, fifteen years constitute the old age of a book. Such a survival might almost be said to be due to a tiny sluice of green sap under the gray bark. where it lies in the matter of this book, or what its source if, indeed, it be really there—is more of a mystery to my middle age than it was to my prime.
But it would be no mystery at all if this new edition were to be more popular than the old one. Do you know why? Because you have taken it under your hand and made it yours. Because you have breathed the breath of life into these amiable brethren of wood and field. Because, by a stroke here and a touch there, you have conveyed into their quaint antics the illumination of your own inimitable humor, which is as true to our sun and soil as it is to the spirit and essence of the matter set forth.
The book was mine, but now you have made it yours, both sap and pith. Take it, therefore, my dear Frost, and believe me, faithfully yours,
Joel Chandler Harris
I am advised by my publishers that this book is to be included in their catalogue of humorous publications, and this friendly warning gives me an opportunity to say that however humorous it may be in effect, its intention is perfectly serious; and, even if it were otherwise, it seems to me that a volume written wholly in dialect must have its solemn, not to say melancholy, features. With respect to the Folk-Lore scenes, my purpose has been to preserve the legends themselves in their original simplicity, and to wed them permanently to the quaint dialect—if, indeed, it can be called a dialect—through the medium of which they have become a part of the domestic history of every Southern family; and I have endeavored to give to the whole a genuine flavor of the old plantation.
Each legend has its variants, but in every instance I have retained that particular version which seemed to me to be the most characteristic, and have given it without embellishment and without exaggeration.
The dialect, it will be observed, is wholly different from that of the Hon. Pompey Smash and his literary descendants, and different also from the intolerable misrepresentations of the minstrel stage, but it is at least phonetically genuine. Nevertheless, if the language of Uncle Remus fails to give vivid hints of the really poetic imagination of the negro; if it fails to embody the quaint and homely humor which was his most prominent characteristic; if it does not suggest a certain picturesque sensitiveness—a curious exaltation of mind and temperament not to be defined by words—then I have reproduced the form of the dialect merely, and not the essence, and my attempt may be accounted a failure. At any rate, I trust I have been successful in presenting what must be, at least to a large portion of American readers, a new and by no means unattractive phase of negro character—a phase which may be considered a curiously sympathetic supplement to Mrs. Stowe's wonderful defense of slavery as it existed in the South. Mrs. Stowe, let me hasten to say, attacked the possibilities of slavery with all the eloquence of genius; but the same genius painted the portrait of the Southern slave-owner, and defended him.
A number of the plantation legends originally appeared in the columns of a daily newspaper—The Atlanta Constitution and in that shape they attracted the attention of various gentlemen who were kind enough to suggest that they would prove to be valuable contributions to myth-literature. It is but fair to say that ethnological considerations formed no part of the undertaking which has resulted in the publication of this volume. Professor J. W. Powell, of the Smithsonian Institution, who is engaged in an investigation of the mythology of the North American Indians, informs me that some of Uncle Remus's stories appear in a number of different languages, and in various modified forms, among the Indians; and he is of the opinion that they are borrowed by the negroes from the red-men. But this, to say the least, is extremely doubtful, since another investigator (Mr. Herbert H. Smith, author of Brazil and the Amazons) has met with some of these stories among tribes of South American Indians, and one in particular he has traced to India, and as far east as Siam. Mr. Smith has been kind enough to send me the proof-sheets of his chapter on The Myths and Folk-Lore of the Amazonian Indians, in which he reproduces some of the stories which he gathered while exploring the Amazons.
In the first of his series, a tortoise falls from a tree upon the head of a jaguar and kills him; in one of Uncle Remus's stories, the terrapin falls from a shelf in Miss Meadows's house and stuns the fox, so that the latter fails to catch the rabbit. In the next, a jaguar catches a tortoise by the hind-leg as he is disappearing in his hole; but the tortoise convinces him he is holding a root, and so escapes; Uncle Remus tells how the fox endeavored to drown the terrapin, but turned him loose because the terrapin declared his tail to be only a stump-root. Mr. Smith also gives the story of how the tortoise outran the deer, which is identical as to incident with Uncle Remus's story of how Brer Tarrypin outran Brer Rabbit. Then there is the story of how the tortoise pretended that he was stronger than the tapir. He tells the latter he can drag him into the sea, but the tapir retorts that he will pull the tortoise into the forest and kill him besides. The tortoise thereupon gets a vine-stem, ties one end around the body of the tapir, and goes to the sea, where he ties the other end to the tail of a whale. He then goes into the wood, midway between them both, and gives the vine a shake as a signal for the pulling to begin. The struggle between the whale and tapir goes on until each thinks the tortoise is the strongest of animals. Compare this with the story of the terrapin's contest with the bear, in which Miss Meadows's bed-cord is used instead of a vine-stem. One of the most characteristic of Uncle Remus's stories is that in which the rabbit proves to Miss Meadows and the girls that the fox is his riding-horse. This is almost identical with a story quoted by Mr. Smith, where the jaguar is about to marry the deer's daughter. The cotia—a species of rodent—is also in love with her, and he tells the deer that he can make a riding-horse of the jaguar.
"Well," says the deer, "if you can make the jaguar carry you, you shall have my daughter." Thereupon the story proceeds pretty much as Uncle Remus tells it of the fox and rabbit. The cotia finally jumps from the jaguar and takes refuge in a hole, where an owl is set to watch him, but he flings sand in the owl's eyes and escapes. In another story given by Mr. Smith, the cotia is very thirsty, and, seeing a man coming with a jar on his head, lies down in the road in front of him, and repeats this until the man puts down his jar to go back after all the dead cotias he has seen. This is almost identical with Uncle Remus's story of how the rabbit robbed the fox of his game. In a story from Upper Egypt, a fox lies down in the road in front of a man who is carrying fowls to market, and finally succeeds in securing them.
This similarity extends to almost every story quoted by Mr. Smith, and some are so nearly identical as to point unmistakably to a common origin; but when and where? when did the negro or the North American Indian ever come in contact with the tribes of South America? Upon this point the author of Brazil and the Amazons, who is engaged in making a critical and comparative study of these myth-stories, writes:
"I am not prepared to form a theory about these stories. There can be no doubt that some of them, found among the negroes and the Indians, had a common origin. The most natural solution would be to suppose that they originated in Africa, and were carried to South America by the negro slaves. They are certainly found among the Red Negroes; but, unfortunately for the African theory, it is equally certain that they are told by savage Indians of the Amazons Valley, away up on the Tapajos, Red Negro, and Tapura. These Indians hardly ever see a negro, and their languages are very distinct from the broken Portuguese spoken by the slaves. The form of the stories, as recounted in the Tupi and Mundurucu' languages, seems to show that they were originally formed in those languages or have long been adopted in them.
"It is interesting to find a story from Upper Egypt (that of the fox who pretended to be dead) identical with an Amazonian story, and strongly resembling one found by you among the negroes. Vambagen, the Brazilian historian (now Visconde de Rio Branco), tried to prove a relationship between the ancient Egyptians, or other Turanian stock, and the Tupi Indians. His theory rested on rather a slender basis, yet it must be confessed that he had one or two strong points. Do the resemblances between old and New World stories point to a similar conclusion? It would be hard to say with the material that we now have.
"One thing is certain. The animal stories told by the negroes in our Southern States and in Brazil were brought by them from Africa. Whether they originated there, or with the Arabs, or Egyptians, or with yet more ancient nations, must still be an open question. Whether the Indians got them from the negroes or from some earlier source is equally uncertain. We have seen enough to know that a very interesting line of investigation has been opened."
Professor Hartt, in his Amazonian Tortoise Myths, quotes a story from the Riverside Magazine of November, 1868, which will be recognized as a variant of one given by Uncle Remus. I venture to append it here, with some necessary verbal and phonetic alterations, in order to give the reader an idea of the difference between the dialect of the cotton plantations, as used by Uncle Remus, and the lingo in vogue on the rice plantations and Sea Islands of the South Atlantic States:
"One time B'er Deer an' B'er Cooter (Terrapin) was courtin', and de lady did bin lub B'er Deer mo' so dan B'er Cooter. She did bin lub B'er Cooter, but she lub B'er Deer de morest. So de young lady say to B'er Deer and B'er Cooter bofe dat dey mus' hab a ten-mile race, an de one dat beats, she will go marry him.
"So B'er Cooter say to B'er Deer: 'You has got mo longer legs dan I has, but I will run you. You run ten mile on land, and I will run ten mile on de water!'
"So B'er Cooter went an' git nine er his fam'ly, an' put one at ebery mile-pos', and he hisse'f, what was to run wid B'er Deer, he was right in front of de young lady's do', in de broom-grass.
"Dat mornin' at nine o'clock, B'er Deer he did met B'er Cooter at de fus mile-pos', wey dey was to start fum. So he call: 'Well, B'er Cooter, is you ready? Co long!' As he git on to de nex' mile-pos', he say: 'B'er Cooter!' B'er Cooter say: 'Hullo!' B'er Deer say: 'You dere?' B'er Cooter say: 'Yes, B'er Deer, I dere too.'
"Nex' mile-pos' he jump, B'er Deer say: 'Hullo, B'er Cooter!' B'er Cooter say: 'Hullo, B'er Deer! you dere too?' B'er Deer say: 'Ki! it look like you gwine fer tie me; it look like we gwine fer de gal tie!'
"W'en he git to de nine-mile pos' he tought he git dere fus, 'cause he mek two jump; so he holler: 'B'er Cooter!' B'er Cooter answer: 'You dere too?' B'er Deer say: 'It look like you gwine tie me.' B'er Cooter say: 'Go long, B'er Deer. I git dere in due season time,' which he does, and wins de race."
The story of the Rabbit and the Fox, as told by the Southern negroes, is artistically dramatic in this: it progresses in an orderly way from a beginning to a well-defined conclusion, and is full of striking episodes that suggest the culmination. It seems to me to be to a certain extent allegorical, albeit such an interpretation may be unreasonable. At least it is a fable thoroughly characteristic of the negro; and it needs no scientific investigation to show why he selects as his hero the weakest and most harmless of all animals, and brings him out victorious in contests with the bear, the wolf, and the fox. It is not virtue that triumphs, but helplessness; it is not malice, but mischievousness. It would be presumptuous in me to offer an opinion as to the origin of these curious myth-stories; but, if ethnologists should discover that they did not originate with the African, the proof to that effect should be accompanied with a good deal of persuasive eloquence.
Curiously enough, I have found few negroes who will acknowledge to a stranger that they know anything of these legends; and yet to relate one of the stories is the surest road to their confidence and esteem. In this way, and in this way only, I have been enabled to collect and verify the folklore included in this volume. There is an anecdote about the Irishman and the rabbit which a number of negroes have told to me with great unction, and which is both funny and characteristic, though I will not undertake to say that it has its origin with the blacks. One day an Irishman who had heard people talking about "mares' nests" was going along the big road—it is always the big road in contradistinction to neighborhood paths and by-paths, called in the vernacular "nigh-cuts"—when he came to a pumpkin—patch. The Irishman had never seen any of this fruit before, and he at once concluded that he had discovered a veritable mare's nest. Making the most of his opportunity, he gathered one of the pumpkins in his arms and went on his way. A pumpkin is an exceedingly awkward thing to carry, and the Irishman had not gone far before he made a misstep, and stumbled. The pumpkin fell to the ground, rolled down the hill into a "brush—heap," and, striking against a stump, was broken. The story continues in the dialect: "W'en de punkin roll in de bresh—heap, out jump a rabbit; en soon's de I'shmuns see dat, he take atter de rabbit en holler: 'Kworp, colty! kworp, colty!' but de rabbit, he des flew." The point of this is obvious.
As to the songs, the reader is warned that it will be found difficult to make them conform to the ordinary rules of versification, nor is it intended that they should so conform. They are written, and are intended to be read, solely with reference to the regular and invariable recurrence of the caesura, as, for instance, the first stanza of the Revival Hymn:
"Oh, whar / shill we go / w'en de great / day comes Wid de blow / in' er de trumpits / en de bang / in' er de drums / How man / y po' sin / ners'll be kotch'd / out late En fine / no latch ter de gold / en gate /"
In other words, the songs depend for their melody and rhythm upon the musical quality of time, and not upon long or short, accented or unaccented syllables. I am persuaded that this fact led Mr. Sidney Lanier, who is thoroughly familiar with the metrical peculiarities of negro songs, into the exhaustive investigation which has resulted in the publication of his scholarly treatise on The Science of English Verse.
The difference between the dialect of the legends and that of the character—sketches, slight as it is, marks the modifications which the speech of the negro has undergone even where education has played in deed, save in the no part reforming it. Indeed, save in the remote country districts, the dialect of the legends has nearly disappeared. I am perfectly well aware that the character sketches are without permanent interest, but they are embodied here for the purpose of presenting a phase of negro character wholly distinct from that which I have endeavored to preserve in the legends. Only in this shape, and with all the local allusions, would it be possible to adequately represent the shrewd observations, the curious retorts, the homely thrusts, the quaint comments, and the humorous philosophy of the race of which Uncle Remus is the type.
If the reader not familiar with plantation life will imagine that the myth—stories of Uncle Remus are told night after night to a little boy by an old negro who appears to be venerable enough to have lived during the period which he describes—who has nothing but pleasant memories of the discipline of slavery—and who has all the prejudices of caste and pride of family that were the natural results of the system; if the reader can imagine all this, he will find little difficulty in appreciating and sympathizing with the air of affectionate superiority which Uncle Remus assumes as he proceeds to unfold the mysteries of plantation lore to a little child who is the product of that practical reconstruction which has been going on to some extent since the war in spite of the politicians. Uncle Remus describes that reconstruction in his Story of the War, and I may as well add here for the benefit of the curious that that story is almost literally true.
J. C. H.
LEGENDS OF THE OLD PLANTATION
I. Uncle Remus initiates the Little Boy II. The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story III. Why Mr. Possum loves Peace IV. How Mr. Rabbit was too sharp for Mr. Fox V. The Story of the Deluge, and how it came about VI. Mr. Rabbit grossly deceives Mr. Fox VII. Mr. Fox is again victimized VIII. Mr. Fox is "outdone" by Mr. Buzzard IX. Miss Cow falls a Victim to Mr. Rabbit X. Mr. Terrapin appears upon the Scene XI. Mr. Wolf makes a Failure XII. Mr. Fox tackles Old Man Tarrypin XIII. The Awful Fate of Mr. Wolf XIV. Mr. Fox and the Deceitful Frogs XV. Mr. Fox goes a-hunting, but Mr. Rabbit bags the Game XVI. Old Mr. Rabbit, he's a Good Fisherman XVII. Mr. Rabbit nibbles up the Butter XVIII. Mr. Rabbit finds his Match at last XIX. The Fate of Mr. Jack Sparrow XX. How Mr. Rabbit saved his Meat XXI. Mr. Rabbit meets his Match again XXII. A Story about the Little Rabbits XXIII. Mr. Rabbit and Mr. Bear XXIV. Mr. Bear catches Old Mr. Bull-Frog XXV. How Mr. Rabbit lost his Fine Bushy Tail XXVI. Mr. Terrapin shows his Strength XXVII Why Mr. Possum has no Hair on his Tail XXVIII. The End of Mr. Bear XXIX. Mr. Fox gets into Serious Business XXX. How Mr. Rabbit succeeded in raising a Dust. XXXI. A Plantation Witch XXXII. "Jacky-my-Lantern" XXXIII. Why the Negro is Black XXXIV. The Sad Fate of Mr. Fox
I. Revival Hymn II. Camp-Meeting Song III. Corn-Shucking Song IV. The Plough-hands Song V. Christmas Play-Song VI. Plantation Play-Song VII. Transcriptions: 1. A Plantation Chant 2. A Plantation Serenade VIII. De Big Bethel Church IX. Time goes by Turns
A Story of the War
His Sayings I. Jeems Rober'son's Last Illness II. Uncle Remus's Church Experience III. Uncle Remus and the Savannah Darkey IV. Turnip Salad as a Text V. A Confession VI. Uncle Remus with the Toothache VII. The Phonograph VIII. Race Improvement IX. In the Role of a Tartar X. A Case of Measles XI. The Emigrants XII. As a Murderer XIII. His Practical View of Things XIV. That Deceitful Jug XV. The Florida Watermelon XVI. Uncle Remus preaches to a Convert XVII. As to Education XVIII. A Temperance Reformer XIX. As a Weather Prophet XX. The Old Man's Troubles XXI. The Fourth of July
LEGENDS OF THE OLD PLANTATION
I. UNCLE REMUS INITIATES THE LITTLE BOY
One evening recently, the lady whom Uncle Remus calls "Miss Sally" missed her little seven-year-old. Making search for him through the house and through the yard, she heard the sound of voices in the old man's cabin, and, looking through the window, saw the child sitting by Uncle Remus. His head rested against the old man's arm, and he was gazing with an expression of the most intense interest into the rough, weather-beaten face, that beamed so kindly upon him. This is what "Miss Sally" heard:
"Bimeby, one day, atter Brer Fox bin doin' all dat he could fer ter ketch Brer Rabbit, en Brer Rabbit bein doin' all he could fer ter keep 'im fum it, Brer Fox say to hisse'f dat he'd put up a game on Brer Rabbit, en he ain't mo'n got de wuds out'n his mouf twel Brer Rabbit came a lopin' up de big road, lookin' des ez plump, en ez fat, en ez sassy ez a Moggin hoss in a barley-patch.
"'Hol' on dar, Brer Rabbit,' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'I ain't got time, Brer Fox,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, sorter mendin' his licks.
"'I wanter have some confab wid you, Brer Rabbit,' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'All right, Brer Fox, but you better holler fum whar you stan'. I'm monstus full er fleas dis mawnin',' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"'I seed Brer B'ar yistdiddy, 'sez Brer Fox, sezee, 'en he sorter rake me over de coals kaze you en me ain't make frens en live naberly, en I tole 'im dat I'd see you.'
"Den Brer Rabbit scratch one year wid his off hinefoot sorter jub'usly, en den he ups en sez, sezee:
"'All a settin', Brer Fox. Spose'n you drap roun' ter-morrer en take dinner wid me. We ain't got no great doin's at our house, but I speck de ole 'oman en de chilluns kin sorter scramble roun' en git up sump'n fer ter stay yo' stummick.'
"'I'm 'gree'ble, Brer Rabbit,' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'Den I'll 'pen' on you,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"Nex' day, Mr. Rabbit an' Miss Rabbit got up soom, 'fo' day, en raided on a gyarden like Miss Sally's out dar, en got some cabbiges, en some roas'n—years, en some sparrer-grass, en dey fix up a smashin' dinner. Bimeby one er de little Rabbits, playin' out in de back-yard, come runnin' in hollerin', 'Oh, ma! oh, ma! I seed Mr. Fox a comin'!' En den Brer Rabbit he tuck de chilluns by der years en make um set down, en den him and Miss Rabbit sorter dally roun' waitin' for Brer Fox. En dey keep on waitin' for Brer Fox. En dey keep on waitin', but no Brer Fox ain't come. Atter 'while Brer Rabbit goes to de do', easy like, en peep out, en dar, stickin' fum behime de cornder, wuz de tip-een' er Brer Fox tail. Den Brer Rabbit shot de do' en sot down, en put his paws behime his years en begin fer ter sing:
"'De place wharbouts you spill de grease, Right dar you er boun' ter slide, An' whar you fin' a bunch er ha'r, You'll sholy fine de hide.'
"Nex' day, Brer Fox sont word by Mr. Mink, en skuze hisse'f kaze he wuz too sick fer ter come, en he ax Brer Rabbit fer ter come en take dinner wid him, en Brer Rabbit say he wuz 'gree'ble.
"Bimeby, w'en de shadders wuz at der shortes', Brer Rabbit he sorter brush up en sa'nter down ter Brer Fox's house, en w'en he got dar, he hear somebody groanin', en he look in de do' an dar he see Brer Fox settin' up in a rockin'-cheer all wrop up wid flannil, en he look mighty weak. Brer Rabbit look all roun', he did, but he ain't see no dinner. De dish-pan wuz settin' on de table, en close by wuz a kyarvin' knife.
"'Look like you gwineter have chicken fer dinner, Brer Fox,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"'Yes, Brer Rabbit, dey er nice, en fresh, en tender, 'sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"Den Brer Rabbit sorter pull his mustarsh, en say: 'You ain't got no calamus root, is you, Brer Fox? I done got so now dat I can't eat no chicken 'ceppin she's seasoned up wid calamus root.' En wid dat Brer Rabbit lipt out er de do' and dodge 'mong the bushes, en sot dar watchin' for Brer Fox; en he ain't watch long, nudder, kaze Brer Fox flung off de flannil en crope out er de house en got whar he could cloze in on Brer Rabbit, en bimeby Brer Rabbit holler out: 'Oh, Brer Fox! I'll des put yo' calamus root out yer on dish yer stump. Better come git it while hit's fresh,' and wid dat Brer Rabbit gallop off home. En Brer Fox ain't never kotch 'im yit, en w'at's mo', honey, he ain't gwineter."
II. THE WONDERFUL TAR BABY STORY
"Didn't the fox never catch the rabbit, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy the next evening.
"He come mighty nigh it, honey, sho's you born—Brer Fox did. One day atter Brer Rabbit fool 'im wid dat calamus root, Brer Fox went ter wuk en got 'im some tar, en mix it wid some turkentime, en fix up a contrapshun w'at he call a Tar-Baby, en he tuck dish yer Tar-Baby en he sot 'er in de big road, en den he lay off in de bushes fer to see what de news wuz gwine ter be. En he didn't hatter wait long, nudder, kaze bimeby here come Brer Rabbit pacin' down de road—lippity-clippity, clippity-lippity—dez ez sassy ez a jay-bird. Brer Fox, he lay low. Brer Rabbit come prancin' 'long twel he spy de Tar-Baby, en den he fotch up on his behime legs like he wuz 'stonished. De Tar Baby, she sot dar, she did, en Brer Fox, he lay low.
"'Mawnin'!' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee—'nice wedder dis mawnin',' sezee.
"Tar-Baby ain't sayin' nuthin', en Brer Fox he lay low.
"'How duz yo' sym'tums seem ter segashuate?' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"Brer Fox, he wink his eye slow, en lay low, en de Tar-Baby, she ain't sayin' nuthin'.
"'How you come on, den? Is you deaf?' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. 'Kaze if you is, I kin holler louder,' sezee.
"Tar-Baby stay still, en Brer Fox, he lay low.
"'You er stuck up, dat's w'at you is,' says Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'en I'm gwine ter kyore you, dat's w'at I'm a gwine ter do,' sezee.
"Brer Fox, he sorter chuckle in his stummick, he did, but Tar- Baby ain't sayin' nothin'.
"'I'm gwine ter larn you how ter talk ter 'spectubble folks ef hit's de las' ack,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. 'Ef you don't take off dat hat en tell me howdy, I'm gwine ter bus' you wide open,' sezee.
"Tar-Baby stay still, en Brer Fox, he lay low.
"Brer Rabbit keep on axin' 'im, en de Tar-Baby, she keep on sayin' nothin', twel present'y Brer Rabbit draw back wid his fis', he did, en blip he tuck 'er side er de head. Right dar's whar he broke his merlasses jug. His fis' stuck, en he can't pull loose. De tar hilt 'im. But Tar-Baby, she stay still, en Brer Fox, he lay low.
"'Ef you don't lemme loose, I'll knock you agin,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, en wid dat he fotch 'er a wipe wid de udder han', en dat stuck. Tar-Baby, she ain't sayin' nuthin', en Brer Fox, he lay low.
"'Tu'n me loose, fo' I kick de natchul stuffin' outen you,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, but de Tar-Baby, she ain't sayin' nuthin'. She des hilt on, en de Brer Rabbit lose de use er his feet in de same way. Brer Fox, he lay low. Den Brer Rabbit squall out dat ef de Tar-Baby don't tu'n 'im loose he butt 'er cranksided. En den he butted, en his head got stuck. Den Brer Fox, he sa'ntered fort', lookin' dez ez innercent ez wunner yo' mammy's mockin'- birds.
"Howdy, Brer Rabbit,' sez Brer Fox, sezee. 'You look sorter stuck up dis mawnin',' sezee, en den he rolled on de groun', en laft en laft twel he couldn't laff no mo'. 'I speck you'll take dinner wid me dis time, Brer Rabbit. I done laid in some calamus root, en I ain't gwineter take no skuse,' sez Brer Fox, sezee."
Here Uncle Remus paused, and drew a two-pound yam out of the ashes.
"Did the fox eat the rabbit?" asked the little boy to whom the story had been told.
"Dat's all de fur de tale goes," replied the old man. "He mout, an den agin he moutent. Some say Judge B'ar come 'long en loosed 'im—some say he didn't. I hear Miss Sally callin'. You better run 'long."
III. WHY MR. POSSUM LOVES PEACE
"ONE night," said Uncle Remus—taking Miss Sally's little boy on his knee, and stroking the child's hair thoughtfully and caressingly—"one night Brer Possum call by fer Brer Coon, 'cordin' ter 'greement, en atter gobblin' up a dish er fried greens en smokin' a seegyar, dey rambled fort' fer ter see how de ballance er de settlement wuz gittin' long. Brer Coon, he wuz one er deze yer natchul pacers, en he racked 'long same ez Mars John's bay pony, en Brer Possum he went in a han'-gallup; en dey got over heap er groun, mon. Brer Possum, he got his belly full er 'simmons, en Brer Coon, he scoop up a 'bunnunce er frogs en tadpoles. Dey amble long, dey did, des ez sociable ez a basket er kittens, twel bimeby dey hear Mr. Dog talkin' ter hisse'f way off in de woods.
"'Spozen he runs up on us, Brer Possum, w'at you gwineter do?' sez Brer Coon, sezee. Brer Possum sorter laugh 'round de cornders un his mouf.
"'Oh, ef he come, Brer Coon, I'm gwineter stan' by you,' sez Brer Possum. 'W'at you gwineter do?' sezee.
"'Who? me?' sez Brer Coon. 'Ef he run up onter me, I lay I give 'im one twis',' sezee."
"Did the dog come?" asked the little boy.
"Go 'way, honey!" responded the old man, in an impressive tone. "Go way! Mr. Dog, he come en he come a zoonin'. En he ain't wait fer ter say howdy, nudder. He des sail inter de two un um. De ve'y fus pas he make Brer Possum fetch a grin fum year ter year, en keel over like he wuz dead. Den Mr. Dog, he sail inter Brer Coon, en right dar's whar he drap his money purse, kaze Brer Coon wuz cut out fer dat kinder bizness, en he fa'rly wipe up de face er de yeth wid 'im. You better b'leeve dat w'en Mr. Dog got a chance to make hisse'f skase he tuck it, en w'at der wuz lef' un him went skaddlin' thoo de woods like hit wuz shot outen a muskit. En Brer Coon, he sorter lick his cloze inter shape en rack off, en Brer Possum, he lay dar like he wuz dead, twel bimeby he raise up sorter keerful like, en w'en he fine de coas' cle'r he scramble up en scamper off like sumpin' was atter 'im."
Here Uncle Remus paused long enough to pick up a live coal of fire in his fingers, transfer it to the palm of his hand, and thence to his clay pipe, which he had been filling—a proceeding that was viewed by the little boy with undisguised admiration. The old man then proceeded:
"Nex' time Brer Possum met Brer Coon, Brer Coon 'fuse ter 'spon' ter his howdy, en dis make Brer Possum feel mighty bad, seein' ez how dey useter make so many 'scurshuns tergedder.
"'W'at make you hol' yo' head so high, Brer Coon?' sez Brer Possum, sezee.
"'I ain't runnin' wid cowerds deze days,' sez Brer Coon. 'W'en I wants you I'll sen' fer you,' sezee.
"Den Brer Possum git mighty mad.
"'Who's enny cowerd?' sezee.
"'You is,' sez Brer Coon, 'dat's who. I ain't soshatin' wid dem w'at lays down on de groun' en plays dead w'en dar's a free fight gwine on,' sezee.
"Den Brer Possum grin en laugh fit to kill hisse'f. "'Lor', Brer Coon, you don't speck I done dat kaze I wuz 'feared, duz you?' sezee. 'W'y I want no mo 'feared dan you is dis minnit. W'at wuz dey fer ter be skeered un?' sezee. 'I know'd you'd git away wid Mr. Dog ef I didn't, en I des lay dar watchin' you shake him, waitin' fer ter put in w'en de time come,' sezee.
"Brer Coon tu'n up his nose.
"'Dat's a mighty likely tale,' sezee, 'w'en Mr. Dog ain't mo'n tech you 'fo' you keel over, en lay dar stiff,' sezee.
"'Dat's des w'at I wuz gwineter tell you 'bout; sez Brer Possum, sezee. 'I want no mo' skeer'd dan you is right now, en' I wuz fixin' fer ter give Mr. Dog a sample er my jaw,' sezee, 'but I'm de most ticklish chap w'at you ever laid eyes on, en no sooner did Mr. Dog put his nose down yer 'mong my ribs dan I got ter laughin', en I laughed twel I ain't had no use er my lim's,' sezee, 'en it's a mussy unto Mr. Dog dat I wuz ticklish, kaze a little mo' en I'd e't 'im up,' sezee. 'I don't mine fightin', Brer Coon, no mo' dan you duz,' sezee, 'but I declar' ter grashus ef I kin stan' ticklin'. Git me in a row whar dey ain't no ticklin' 'lowed, en I'm your man, sezee.
"En down ter dis day"—continued Uncle Remus, watching the smoke from his pipe curl upward over the little boy's head—"down ter dis day, Brer Possum's bound ter s'render w'en you tech him in de short ribs, en he'll laugh ef he knows he's gwineter be smashed fer it."
IV. HOW MR. RABBIT WAS TOO SHARP FOR MR. FOX
"UNCLE REMUS," said the little boy one evening, when he had found the old man with little or nothing to do, "did the fox kill and eat the rabbit when he caught him with the Tar-Baby?"
"Law, honey, ain't I tell you 'bout dat?" replied the old darkey, chuckling slyly. "I 'clar ter grashus I ought er tole you dat, but old man Nod wuz ridin' on my eyeleds 'twel a leetle mo'n I'd a dis'member'd my own name, en den on to dat here come yo mammy hollerin' atter you.
"W'at I tell you w'en I fus' begin? I tole you Brer Rabbit wuz a monstus soon creetur; leas'ways dat's w'at I laid out fer ter tell you. Well, den, honey, don't you go en make no udder calkalashuns, kaze in dem days Brer Rabbit en his fambly wuz at de head er de gang w'en enny racket wuz on han', en dar dey stayed. 'Fo' you begins fer ter wipe yo' eyes 'bout Brer Rabbit, you wait en see whar'bouts Brer Rabbit gwineter fetch up at. But dat's needer yer ner dar.
"W'en Brer Fox fine Brer Rabbit mixt up wid de Tar-Baby, he feel mighty good, en he roll on de groun' en laff. Bimeby he up'n say, sezee:
"'Well, I speck I got you dis time, Brer Rabbit, sezee; 'maybe I ain't, but I speck I is. You been runnin' roun' here sassin' atter me a mighty long time, but I speck you done come ter de een' er de row. You bin cuttin' up yo' capers en bouncin''roun' in dis neighberhood ontwel you come ter b'leeve yo'se'f de boss er de whole gang. En den you er allers somers whar you got no bizness,' sez Brer Fox, sezee. 'Who ax you fer ter come en strike up a 'quaintance wid dish yer Tar-Baby? En who stuck you up dar whar you iz? Nobody in de roun' worl'. You des tuck en jam yo'se'f on dat Tar-Baby widout waitin' fer enny invite,' sez Brer Fox, sezee, en dar you is, en dar you'll stay twel I fixes up a bresh-pile and fires her up, kaze I'm gwineter bobby-cue you dis day, sho,' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"Den Brer Rabbit talk mighty 'umble.
"'I don't keer w'at you do wid me, Brer Fox,' sezee, 'so you don't fling me in dat brier-patch. Roas' me, Brer Fox' sezee, 'but don't fling me in dat brierpatch,' sezee.
"'Hit's so much trouble fer ter kindle a fier,' sez Brer Fox, sezee, 'dat I speck I'll hatter hang you,' sezee.
"'Hang me des ez high as you please, Brer Fox,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'but do fer de Lord's sake don't fling me in dat brier- patch,' sezee.
"'I ain't got no string,' sez Brer Fox, sezee, 'en now I speck I'll hatter drown you,' sezee.
"'Drown me des ez deep ez you please, Brer Fox,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'but do don't fling me in dat brier-patch,' sezee.
"'Dey ain't no water nigh,' sez Brer Fox, sezee, 'en now I speck I'll hatter skin you,' sezee.
"'Skin me, Brer Fox,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'snatch out my eyeballs, t'ar out my years by de roots, en cut off my legs,' sezee, 'but do please, Brer Fox, don't fling me in dat brier- patch,' sezee.
"Co'se Brer Fox wanter hurt Brer Rabbit bad ez he kin, so he cotch 'im by de behime legs en slung 'im right in de middle er de brier-patch. Dar wuz a considerbul flutter whar Brer Rabbit struck de bushes, en Brer Fox sorter hang 'roun' fer ter see w'at wuz gwineter happen. Bimeby he hear somebody call 'im, en way up de hill he see Brer Rabbit settin' crosslegged on a chinkapin log koamin' de pitch outen his har wid a chip. Den Brer Fox know dat he bin swop off mighty bad. Brer Rabbit wuz bleedzed fer ter fling back some er his sass, en he holler out:
"'Bred en bawn in a brier-patch, Brer Fox—bred en bawn in a brier-patch!' en wid dat he skip out des ez lively ez a cricket in de embers."
V. THE STORY OF THE DELUGE AND HOW IT CAME ABOUT
"ONE time," said Uncle Remus—adjusting his spectacles so as to be able to see how to thread a large darning-needle with which he was patching his coat—"one time, way back yander, 'fo' you wuz bomed, honey, en 'fo' Mars John er Miss Sally wuz bomed—way back yander 'fo' enny un us wuz bomed, de animils en de creeturs sorter 'lecshuneer roun' 'mong deyselves, twel at las' dey 'greed fer ter have a 'sembly. In dem days," continued the old man, observing a look of incredulity on the little boy's face, "in dem days creeturs had lots mo' sense dan dey got now; let 'lone dat, dey had sense same like folks. Hit was tech en go wid um, too, mon, en w'en dey make up der mines w'at hatter be done, 'twant mo'n menshun'd 'fo, hit wuz done. Well, dey 'lected dat dey hatter hol' er 'sembly fer ter sorter straighten out marters en hear de complaints, en w'en de day come dey wuz on han'. De Lion, he wuz dar, kase he wuz de king, en he hatter be der. De Rhynossyhoss, he wuz dar, en de Elephant, he wuz dar, en de Cammils, en de Cows, en plum' down ter de Crawfishes, dey wuz dar. Dey wuz all dar. En w'en de Lion shuck his mane, en tuck his seat in de big cheer, den de sesshun begun fer ter commence.
"What did they do, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy.
"I can't skacely call to mine 'zackly w'at dey did do, but dey spoke speeches, en hollered, en cusst, en flung der langwidge 'roun' des like w'en yo' daddy wuz gwineter run fer de legislater en got lef'. Howsomever, dey 'ranged der 'fairs, en splained der bizness. Bimeby, w'ile dey wuz 'sputin' 'longer one er nudder, de Elephant trompled on one er de Crawfishes. Co'se w'en dat creetur put his foot down, w'atsumever's under dar wuz boun' fer ter be squshed, en dey wa'n't nuff er dat Crawfish lef' fer ter tell dat he'd bin dar.
"Dis make de udder Crawfishes mighty mad, en dey sorter swarmed tergedder en draw'd up a kinder peramble wid some wharfo'es in it, en read her out in de 'sembly. But, bless grashus! sech a racket wuz a gwine on dat nobody ain't hear it, 'ceppin' maybe de Mud Turkle en de Spring Lizzud, en dere enfloons wuz pow'ful lackin'.
"Bimeby, w'iles de Nunicorn wuz 'sputin' wid de Lion, en w'ile de Hyener wuz a laughin' ter hisse'f, de Elephant squshed anudder one er de Crawfishes, en a little mo'n he'd er ruint de Mud Turkle. Den de Crawfishes, w'at dey wuz lef' un um, swarmed tergedder en draw'd up anudder peramble wid sum mo' wharfo'es; but dey might ez well er sung Ole Dan Tucker ter a harrycane. De udder creeturs wuz too busy wid der fussin' fer ter 'spon' unto de Crawfishes. So dar dey wuz, de Crawfishes, en dey didn't know w'at minnit wuz gwineter be de nex'; en dey kep' on gittin madder en madder en skeerder en skeerder, twel bimeby dey gun de wink ter de Mud Turkle en de Spring Lizzud, en den dey bo'd little holes in de groun' en went down outer sight."
"Who did, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy.
"De Crawfishes, honey. Dey bo'd inter de groun' en kep' on bo'in twel dey onloost de fountains er de yeth; en de waters squirt out, en riz higher en higher twel de hills wuz kivvered, en de creeturs wuz all drownded; en all bekaze dey let on 'mong deyselves dat dey wuz bigger dan de Crawfishes."
Then the old man blew the ashes from a smoking yam, and proceeded to remove the peeling.
"Where was the ark, Uncle Remus?" the little boy inquired, presently.
"W'ich ark's dat?" asked the old man, in a tone of well-feigned curiosity.
"Noah's ark," replied the child.
"Don't you pester wid ole man Noah, honey. I boun' he tuck keer er dat ark. Dat's w'at he wuz dar fer, en dat's w'at he done. Leas'ways, dat's w'at dey tells me. But don't you bodder longer dat ark, 'ceppin' your mammy fetches it up. Dey mout er bin two deloojes, en den agin dey moutent. Ef dey wuz enny ark in dish yer w'at de Crawfishes brung on, I ain't heern tell un it, en w'en dey ain't no arks 'roun', I ain't got no time fer ter make um en put um in dar. Hit's gittin' yo' bedtime, honey."
VI. MR. RABBIT GROSSLY DECEIVES MR. FOX
ONE evening when the little boy, whose nights with Uncle Remus were as entertaining as those Arabian ones of blessed memory, had finished supper and hurried out to sit with his venerable patron, he found the old man in great glee. Indeed, Uncle Remus was talking and laughing to himself at such a rate that the little boy was afraid he had company. The truth is, Uncle Remus had heard the child coming, and, when the rosy-cheeked chap put his head in at the door, was engaged in a monologue, the burden of which seemed to be—
"Ole Molly Har', W'at you doin' dar, Settin' in de cornder Smokin' yo' seegyar?"
As a matter of course this vague allusion reminded the little boy of the fact that the wicked Fox was still in pursuit of the Rabbit, and he immediately put his curiosity in the shape of a question.
"Uncle Remus, did the Rabbit have to go clean away when he got loose from the Tar-Baby?"
"Bless gracious, honey, dat he didn't. Who? Him? You dunno nuthin' 'tall 'bout Brer Rabbit ef dat's de way you puttin' 'im down. W'at he gwine 'way fer? He moughter stayed sorter close twel de pitch rub off'n his ha'r, but tweren't menny days 'fo' he wuz lopin' up en down de neighborhood same ez ever, en I dunno ef he weren't mo' sassier dan befo'.
"Seem like dat de tale 'bout how he got mixt up wid de Tar-Baby got 'roun' 'mongst de nabers. Leas'ways, Miss Meadows en de gals got win' un' it, en de nex' time Brer Rabbit paid um a visit Miss Meadows tackled 'im 'bout it, en de gals sot up a monstus gigglement. Brer Rabbit, he sot up des ez cool ez a cowcumber, he did, en let em run on.
"Who was Miss Meadows, Uncle Remus?" inquired the little boy.
"Don't ax me, honey. She wuz in de tale, Miss Meadows en de gals wuz, en de tale I give you like hi't wer' gun ter me. Brer Rabbit, he sot dar, he did, sorter lam' like, en den bimeby he cross his legs, he did, and wink his eye slow, en up and say, sezee:
"'Ladies, Brer Fox wuz my daddy's ridin'-hoss fer thirty year; maybe mo', but thirty year dat I knows un,' sezee; en den he paid um his 'specks, en tip his beaver, en march off, he did, des ez stiff en ez stuck up ez a fire-stick.
"Nex' day, Brer Fox cum a callin', and w'en he gun fer ter laugh 'bout Brer Rabbit, Miss Meadows en de gals, dey ups en tells 'im 'bout w'at Brer Rabbit Say. Den Brer Fox grit his tushes sho' nuff, he did, en he look mighty dumpy, but w'en he riz fer ter go he up en say, sezee:
"'Ladies, I ain't 'sputin' w'at you say, but I'll make Brer Rabbit chaw up his words en spit um out right yer whar you kin see 'im,' sezee, en wid dat off Brer Fox put.
"En w'en he got in de big road, he shuck de dew off'n his tail, en made a straight shoot fer Brer Rabbit's house. W'en he got dar, Brer Rabbit wuz spectin' un 'im, en de do' wuz shet fas'. Brer Fox knock. Nobody ain't ans'er. Brer Fox knock. Nobody ans'er. Den he knock agin—blam! blam! Den Brer Rabbit holler out mighty weak: 'Is dat you, Brer Fox? I want you ter run en fetch de doctor. Dat bait er pusly w'at I e't dis mawnin' is gittin' 'way wid me. Do, please, Brer Fox, run quick,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"'I come atter you, Brer Rabbit,' sez Brer Fox, sezee. 'Dar's gwineter be a party up at Miss Meadows's,' sezee. 'All de gals 'll be dere, en I prommus' dat I'd fetch you. De gals, dey 'lowed dat hit wouldn't be no party 'ceppin' I fotch you,' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"Den Brer Rabbit say he wuz too sick, en Brer Fox say he wuzzent, en dar dey had it up and down, 'sputin' en contendin'. Brer Rabbit say he can't walk. Brer Fox say he tote 'im. Brer Rabbit say how? Brer Fox say in his arms. Brer Rabbit say he drap 'im. Brer Fox 'low he won't. Bimeby Brer Rabbit say he go ef Brer Fox tote 'im on his back. Brer Fox say he would. Brer Rabbit say he can't ride widout a saddle. Brer Fox say he git de saddle. Brer Rabbit say he can't set in saddle less he have bridle fer ter hol' by. Brer Fox say he git de bridle. Brer Rabbit say he can't ride widout bline bridle, kaze Brer Fox be shyin' at stumps long de road, en fling 'im off. Brer Fox say he git bline bridle. Den Brer Rabbit say he go. Den Brer Fox say he ride Brer Rabbit mos' up ter Miss Meadows's, en den he could git down en walk de balance er de way. Brer Rabbit 'greed, en den Brer Fox lipt out atter de saddle en de bridle.
"Co'se Brer Rabbit know de game dat Brer Fox wuz fixin' fer ter play, en he 'termin' fer ter outdo 'im, en by de time he koam his ha'r en twis' his mustarsh, en sorter rig up, yer come Brer Fox, saddle en bridle on, en lookin' ez peart ez a circus pony. He trot up ter de do' en stan' dar pawin' de ground en chompin' de bit same like sho 'nuff hoss, en Brer Rabbit he mount, he did, en dey amble off. Brer Fox can't see behime wid de bline bridle on, but bimeby he feel Brer Rabbit raise one er his foots.
"'W'at you doin' now, Brer Rabbit?' sezee.
"'Short'nin' de lef stir'p, Brer Fox,' sezee.
"Bimeby Brer Rabbit raise up de udder foot.
"'W'at you doin' now, Brer Rabbit?' sezee.
"'Pullin' down my pants, Brer Fox,' sezee.
"All de time, bless grashus, honey, Brer Rabbit wer' puttin' on his spurrers, en w'en dey got close to Miss Meadows's, whar Brer Rabbit wuz to git off, en Brer Fox made a motion fer ter stan' still, Brer Rabbit slap de spurrers into Brer Fox flanks, en you better b'leeve he got over groun'. W'en dey got ter de house, Miss Meadows en all de gals wuz settin' on de peazzer, en stidder stoppin' at de gate, Brer Rabbit rid on by, he did, en den come gallopin' down de road en up ter de hoss-rack, w'ich he hitch Brer Fox at, en den he santer inter de house, he did, en shake han's wid de gals, en set dar, smokin' his seegyar same ez a town man. Bimeby he draw in a long puff, en den let hit out in a cloud, en squar hisse'f back en holler out, he did:
"'Ladies, ain't I done tell you Brer Fox wuz de ridin'-hoss fer our fambly? He sorter losin' his gait now, but I speck I kin fetch 'im all right in a mont' er so,' sezee.
"En den Brer Rabbit sorter grin, he did, en de gals giggle, en Miss Meadows, she praise up de pony, en dar wuz Brer Fox hitch fas' ter de rack, en couldn't he'p hisse'f."
"Is that all, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy as the old man paused.
"Dat ain't all, honey, but 'twon't do fer ter give out too much cloff fer ter cut one pa'r pants," replied the old man sententiously.
VII. MR. FOX IS AGAIN VICTIMIZED
WHEN "Miss Sally's" little boy went to Uncle Remus the next night to hear the conclusion of the adventure in which the Rabbit made a riding-horse of the Fox to the great enjoyment and gratification of Miss Meadows and the girls, he found the old man in a bad humor.
"I ain't tellin' no tales ter bad chilluns," said Uncle Remus curtly.
"But, Uncle Remus, I ain't bad," said the little boy plaintively.
"Who dat chunkin' dem chickens dis mawnin? Who dat knockin' out fokes's eyes wid dat Yallerbammer sling des 'fo' dinner? Who dat sickin' dat pinter puppy atter my pig? Who dat scatterin' my ingun sets? Who dat flingin' rocks on top er my house, w'ich a little mo' en one un em would er drap spang on my head?"
"Well, now, Uncle Remus, I didn't go to do it. I won't do so any more. Please, Uncle Remus, if you will tell me, I'll run to the house and bring you some tea-cakes."
"Seein' um's better'n hearin' tell un um, replied the old man, the severity of his countenance relaxing somewhat; but the little boy darted out, and in a few minutes came running back with his pockets full and his hands full.
"I lay yo' mammy 'll 'spishun dat de rats' stummicks is widenin' in dis neighborhood w'en she come fer ter count up 'er cakes," said Uncle Remus, with a chuckle. "Deze," he continued, dividing the cakes into two equal parts—"dese I'll tackle now, en dese I'll lay by fer Sunday.
"Lemme see. I mos' dis'member wharbouts Brer Fox en Brer Rabbit wuz."
"The rabbit rode the fox to Miss Meadows's, and hitched him to the horse-rack," said the little boy.
"W'y co'se he did," said Uncle Remus. "C'ose he did. Well, Brer Rabbit rid Brer Fox up, he did, en tied 'im to de rack, en den sot out in de peazzer wid de gals a smokin' er his seegyar wid mo' proudness dan w'at you mos' ever see. Dey talk, en dey sing, en dey play on de peanner, de gals did, twel bimeby hit come time fer Brer Rabbit fer to be gwine, en he tell um all good-by, en strut out to de hoss-rack same's ef he wuz de king er de patter- rollers,*1 en den he mount Brer Fox en ride off.
"Brer Fox ain't sayin' nuthin' 'tall. He des rack off, he did, en keep his mouf shet, en Brer Rabbit know'd der wuz bizness cookin' up fer him, en he feel monstus skittish. Brer Fox amble on twel he git in de long lane, outer sight er Miss Meadows's house, en den he tu'n loose, he did. He rip en he ra'r, en he cuss, en he swar; he snort en he cavort."
"What was he doing that for, Uncle Remus?" the little boy inquired.
"He wuz tryin' fer ter fling Brer Rabbit off'n his back, bless yo' soul! But he des might ez well er rastle wid his own shadder. Every time he hump hisse'f Brer Rabbit slap de spurrers in 'im, en dar dey had it, up en down. Brer Fox fa'rly to' up de groun' he did, en he jump so high en he jump so quick dat he mighty nigh snatch his own tail off. Dey kep' on gwine on dis way twel bimeby Brer Fox lay down en roll over, he did, en dis sorter onsettle Brer Rabbit, but by de time Brer Fox got back on his footses agin, Brer Rabbit wuz gwine thoo de underbresh mo' samer dan a race-hoss. Brer Fox he lit out atter 'im, he did, en he push Brer Rabbit so close dat it wuz 'bout all he could do fer ter git in a holler tree. Hole too little fer Brer Fox fer ter git in, en he hatter lay down en res en gedder his mine tergedder.
"While he wuz layin' dar, Mr. Buzzard come floppin' 'long, en seein' Brer Fox stretch out on de groun', he lit en view de premusses. Den Mr. Buzzard sorter shake his wing, en put his head on one side, en say to hisse'f like, sezee:
"'Brer Fox dead, en I so sorry,' sezee.
"'No I ain't dead, nudder,' sez Brer Fox, sezee. 'I got ole man Rabbit pent up in yer,' sezee, 'en I'm a gwine ter git 'im dis time ef it take twel Chris'mus,' sezee.
"Den, atter some mo' palaver, Brer Fox make a bargain dat Mr. Buzzard wuz ter watch de hole, en keep Brer Rabbit dar wiles Brer Fox went atter his axe. Den Brer Fox, he lope off, he did, en Mr. Buzzard, he tuck up his stan' at de hole. Bimeby, w'en all git still, Brer Rabbit sorter scramble down close ter de hole, he did, en holler out:
"'Brer Fox! Oh! Brer Fox!'
"Brer Fox done gone, en nobody say nuthin'. Den Brer Rabbit squall out like he wuz mad; sezee:
"'You needn't talk less you wanter,' sezee; 'I knows you er dar, en I ain't keerin',' sezee. 'I des wanter tell you dat I wish mighty bad Brer Tukkey Buzzard wuz here,' sezee.
"Den Mr. Buzzard try ter talk like Brer Fox:
"'W'at you want wid Mr. Buzzard?' sezee.
"'Oh, nuthin' in 'tickler, 'cep' dere's de fattes' gray squir'l in yer dat ever I see,' sezee, 'en ef Brer Tukkey Buzzard wuz 'roun' he'd be mighty glad fer ter git 'im,' sezee.
"'How Mr. Buzzard gwine ter git 'im?' sez de Buzzard, sezee.
"'Well, dar's a little hole roun' on de udder side er de tree,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'en ef Brer Tukkey Buzzard wuz here so he could take up his stan' dar,' sezee, 'I'd drive dat squir'l out,' sezee.
"'Drive 'im out, den,' sez Mr. Buzzard, sezee, 'en I'll see dat Brer Tukkey Buzzard gits 'im,' sezee.
"Den Brer Rabbit kick up a racket, like he wer' drivin' sumpin' out, en Mr. Buzzard he rush 'roun' fer ter ketch de squir'l, en Brer Rabbit, he dash out, he did, en he des fly fer home."
At this point Uncle Remus took one of the teacakes, held his head back, opened his mouth, dropped the cake in with a sudden motion, looked at the little boy with an expression of astonishment, and then closed his eyes, and begun to chew, mumbling as an accompaniment the plaintive tune of "Don't you Grieve atter Me."
The seance was over; but, before the little boy went into the "big house," Uncle Remus laid his rough hand tenderly on the child's shoulder, and remarked, in a confidential tone:
"Honey, you mus' git up soon Chris'mus mawnin' en open de do'; kase I'm gwineter bounce in on Marse John en Miss Sally, en holler 'Chris'mus gif'' des like I useter endurin' de farmin' days fo' de war, w'en ole Miss wuz 'live. I bound' dey don't fergit de ole nigger, nudder. W'en you hear me callin' de pigs, honey, you des hop up en onfassen de do'. I lay I'll give Marse John one er dese yer 'sprize parties."
*1 Patrols. In the country districts, order was kept on the plantations at night by the knowledge that they were liable to be visited at any moment by the patrols. Hence a song current among the negroes, the chorus of which was:
"Run, nigger, run; patter-roller ketch you— Run, nigger, run; hit's almos' day."
VIII. MR. FOX IS "OUTDONE" BY MR. BUZZARD
"EF I don't run inter no mistakes," remarked Uncle Remus, as the little boy came tripping in to see him after supper, "Mr. Tukkey Buzzard wuz gyardin' de holler whar Brer Rabbit went in at, en w'ich he come out un."
The silence of the little boy verified the old man's recollection.
"Well, Mr. Buzzard, he feel mighty lonesome, he did, but he done prommust Brer Fox dat he'd stay, en he 'termin' fer ter sorter hang 'roun' en jine in de joke. En he ain't hatter wait long, nudder, kase bimeby yer come Brer Fox gallopin' thoo de woods wid his axe on his shoulder.
"'How you speck Brer Rabbit gittin' on, Brer Buzzard?' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'Oh, he in dar,' sez Brer Buzzard, sezee. 'He mighty still, dough. I speck he takin' a nap,' sezee.
"'Den I'm des in time fer ter wake im up, sez Brer Fox, sezee. En wid dat he fling off his coat, en spit in his han's, en grab de axe. Den he draw back en come down on de tree—pow! En eve'y time he come down wid de axe—pow!—Mr. Buzzard, he step high, he did, en holler out:
"'Oh, he in dar, Brer Fox. He in dar, sho.'
"En eve'y time a chip ud fly off, Mr. Buzzard, he'd jump, en dodge, en hol' his head sideways, he would, en holler:
"'He in dar, Brer Fox. I done heerd 'im. He in dar, sho.'
"En Brer Fox, he lammed away at dat holler tree, he did, like a man maulin' rails, twel bimeby, atter he done got de tree mos' cut thoo, he stop fer ter ketch his bref, en he seed Mr. Buzzard laughin' behime his back, he did, en right den en dar, widout gwine enny fudder, Brer Fox, he smelt a rat. But Mr. Buzzard, he keep on holler'n:
"'He in dar, Brer Fox. He in dar, sho. I done seed 'im.'
"Den Brer Fox, he make like he peepin' up de holler, en he say, sezee:
"'Run yer, Brer Buzzard, en look ef dis ain't Brer Rabbit's foot hanging down yer.'
"En Mr. Buzzard, he come steppin' up, he did, same ez ef he wer treddin' on kurkle-burs, en he stick his head in de hole; en no sooner did he done dat dan Brer Fox grab 'im. Mr. Buzzard flap his wings, en scramble 'roun' right smartually, he did, but 'twant no use. Brer Fox had de 'vantage er de grip, he did, en he hilt 'im right down ter de groun'. Den Mr. Buzzard squall out, sezee:
"'Lemme 'lone, Brer Fox. Tu'n me loose,' sezee; 'Brer Rabbit 'll git out. You er gittin' close at 'im,' sezee, 'en leb'm mo' licks'll fetch 'im,' sezee.
"'I'm nigher ter you, Brer Buzzard,' sez Brer Fox, sezee, 'dan I'll be ter Brer Rabbit dis day,' sezee. 'W'at you fool me fer?' sezee.
"'Lemme lone, Brer Fox,' sez Mr. Buzzard, sezee; my ole 'oman waitin' fer me. Brer Rabbit in dar,' sezee.
"'Dar's a bunch er his fur on dat black-be'y bush,' sez Brer Fox, sezee, 'en dat ain't de way he come,' sezee.
"Den Mr. Buzzard up'n tell Brer Fox how 'twuz, en he 'low'd, Mr. Buzzard did, dat Brer Rabbit wuz de lowdownest w'atsizname w'at he ever run up wid. Den Brer Fox say, sezee:
"'Dat's needer here ner dar, Brer Buzzard,' sezee. 'I lef' you yer fer ter watch dish yere hole, en I lef' Brer Rabbit in dar. I comes back en I fines you at de 'ole en Brer Rabbit ain't in dar,' sezee. 'I'm gwineter make you pay fer't. I done bin tampered wid twel plum' down ter de sap sucker'll set on a log en sassy me. I'm gwineter fling you in a bresh-heap en burn you up,' sezee.
"'Ef you fling me on der fier, Brer Fox, I'll fly 'way,' sez Mr. Buzzard, sezee.
"'Well, den, I'll settle yo' hash right now,' sez Brer Fox, sezee, en wid dat he grab Mr. Buzzard by de tail, he did, en make fer ter dash 'im 'gin de groun', but des 'bout dat time de tail fedders come out, en Mr. Buzzard sail off like one er dese yer berloons; en ez he riz, he holler back:
"'You gimme good start, Brer Fox,' sezee, en Brer Fox sot dar en watch 'im fly outer sight."
"But what became of the Rabbit, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy.
"Don't you pester longer Brer Rabbit, honey, en don't you fret 'bout 'im. You'll year whar he went en how he come out. Dish yer col' snap rastles wid my bones, now," continued the old man, putting on his hat and picking up his walking-stick. "Hit rastles wid me monstus, en I gotter rack 'roun' en see if I kin run up agin some Chris'mus leavin's."
IX. MISS COW FALLS A VICTIM TO MR. RABBIT
"UNCLE REMUS," said the little boy, "what became of the Rabbit after he fooled the Buzzard, and got out of the hollow tree?"
"Who? Brer Rabbit? Bless yo' soul, honey, Brer Rabbit went skippin' long home, he did, des ez sassy ez a jay-bird at a sparrer's nes'. He went gallopin' 'long, he did, but he feel mighty fired out, en stiff in his jints, en he wuz mighty nigh dead for sumpin fer ter drink, en bimeby, w'en he got mos' home, he spied ole Miss Cow feedin' roun' in a fiel', he did, en he 'termin' fer ter try his han' wid 'er. Brer Rabbit know mighty well dat Miss Cow won't give 'im no milk, kaze she done 'fuse 'im mo'n once, en w'en his ole 'oman wuz sick, at dat. But never mind dat. Brer Rabbit sorter dance up long side er de fence, he did, en holler out:
"'Howdy, Sis Cow,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"'W'y, howdy, Brer Rabbit,' sez Miss Cow, sez she.
"'How you fine yo'se'f deze days, Sis Cow?' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"'I'm sorter toler'ble, Brer Rabbit; how you come on?' sez Miss Cow, sez she.
"'Oh, I'm des toler'ble myse'f, Sis Cow; sorter linger'n' twix' a bauk en a break-down,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"'How yo' fokes, Brer Rabbit?' sez Miss Cow, sez she.
"'Dey er des middlin', Sis Cow; how Brer Bull gittin' on?' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"'Sorter so-so,' sez Miss Cow, sez she.
"'Dey er some mighty nice 'simmons up dis tree, Sis Cow,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'en I'd like mighty well fer ter have some un um,' sezee.
"'How you gwineter git um, Brer Rabbit?' sez she.
"'I 'lowed maybe dat I might ax you fer ter butt 'gin de tree, en shake some down, Sis Cow,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"C'ose Miss Cow don't wanter diskommerdate Brer Rabbit, en she march up ter de 'simmon tree, she did, en hit it a rap wid 'er horns—blam! Now, den," continued Uncle Remus, tearing off the comer of a plug of tobacco and cramming it into his mouth—"now, den, dem 'simmons wuz green ez grass, en na'er one never drap. Den Miss Cow butt de tree—blim! Na'er 'simmon drap. Den Miss Cow sorter back off little, en run agin de tree—blip! No 'simmons never drap. Den Miss Cow back off little fudder, she did, en hi'st her tail on 'er back, en come agin de tree, kerblam! en she come so fas', en she come so hard, twel one 'er her horns went spang thoo de tree, en dar she wuz. She can't go forerds, en she can't go backerds. Dis zackly w'at Brer Rabbit waitin' fer, en he no sooner seed ole Miss Cow all fas'en'd up dan he jump up, he did, en cut de pidjin-wing.
"'Come he'p me out, Brer Rabbit,' sez Miss Cow, sez she.
"'I can't clime, Sis Cow,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'but I'll run'n tell Brer Bull,' sezee; en wid dat Brer Rabbit put out fer home, en 'twan't long 'fo here he come wid his ole 'oman en all his chilluns, en de las' one er de fambly wuz totin' a pail. De big uns had big pails, en de little uns had little pails. En dey all s'roundid ole Miss Cow, dey did, en you hear me, honey, dey milk't 'er dry. De ole uns milk't en de young uns milk't, en den w'en dey done got nuff, Brer Rabbit, he up'n say, sezee:
"'I wish you mighty well, Sis Cow. I 'low'd, bein's how dat you'd hatter sorter camp out all night dat I'd better come en swaje yo' bag,' sezee."
"Do which, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy.
"Go long, honey! Swaje 'er bag. W'en cows don't git milk't, der bag swells, en you k'n hear um a moanin' en a beller'n des like dey wuz gittin' hurtid. Dat's w'at Brer Rabbit done. He 'sembled his fambly, he did, en he swaje ole Miss Cow's bag.
"Miss Cow, she stood dar, she did, en she study en study, en strive fer ter break loose, but de horn done bin jam in de tree so tight dat twuz way 'fo day in de mornin' 'fo' she loose it. Anyhow hit wuz endurin' er de night, en atter she git loose she sorter graze 'roun', she did, fer ter jestify 'er stummuck she low'd, ole Miss Cow did, dat Brer Rabbit be hoppin' long dat way fer ter see how she gittin' on, en she tuck'n lay er trap fer 'im; en des 'bout sunrise w'at'd ole Miss Cow do but march up ter de 'simmon tree en stick er horn back in de hole? But, bless yo' soul, honey, w'ile she wuz croppin' de grass she tuck one mou'ful too menny, kaze w'en she hitch on ter de 'simmon tree agin, Brer Rabbit wuz settin' in de fence cornder a watchin' un 'er. Den Brer Rabbit he say ter hisse'f:
"'Heyo,' sezee, 'w'at dis yer gwine on now? Hol' yo' hosses, Sis Cow, twel you hear me comin',' sezee.
"En den he crope off down de fence, Brer Rabbit did, en bimeby here he come—lippity-clippity, clippity-lippity—des a sailin' down de big road.
"'Mornin', Sis Cow,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'bow you come on dis mornin'?' sezee.
"Po'ly, Brer Rabbit, poly,' sez Miss Cow, sez she. 'I ain't had no res' all night,' sez she. 'I can't pull loose,' sez she, 'but ef you'll come en ketch holt er my tail, Brer Rabbit,' sez she, 'I reckin may be I kin fetch my horn out,' sez she. Den Brer Rabbit, he come up little closer, but he ain't gittin' too close.
"'I speck I'm nigh nuff, Sis Cow,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. 'I'm a mighty puny man, en I might git trompled,' sezee. 'You do de pullin', Sis Cow,' sezee, en I'll do de gruntin,' sezee.
"Den Miss Cow, she pull out 'er horn, she did, en tuck atter Brer Rabbit, en down de big road dey had it, Brer Rabbit wid his years laid back, en Miss Cow wid 'er head down en 'er tail curl. Brer Rabbit kep' on gainin', en bimeby he dart in a brier-patch, en by de time Miss Cow come long he had his head stickin' out, en his eyes look big ez Miss Sally's chany sassers.
"'Heyo, Sis Cow! whar you gwine?' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"'Howdy, Brer Big-Eyes,' sez Miss Cow, sez she. 'Is you seed Brer Rabbit go by?'
"'He des dis minit pass,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'en he look mighty sick,' sezee.
"En wid dat, Miss Cow tuck down de road like de dogs wuz atter er, en Brer Rabbit, he des lay down dar in de brier-patch en roll en laugh twel his sides hurtid 'im. He bleedzd ter laff. Fox atter 'im, Buzzard atter 'im, en Cow atter 'im, en dey ain't kotch 'im yet."
X. MR. TERRAPIN APPEARS UPON THE SCENE
"MISS SALLY'S" little boy again occupying the anxious position of auditor, Uncle Remus took the shovel and "put de noses er de chunks tergedder," as he expressed it, and then began:
"One day, atter Sis Cow done run pas' 'er own shadder tryin' fer ter ketch 'im. Brer Rabbit tuck'n 'low dat he wuz gwineter drap in en see Miss Meadows en de gals, en he got out his piece er lookin'-glass en primp up, he did, en sot out. Gwine canterin' long de road, who should Brer Rabbit run up wid but ole Brer Tarrypin—de same ole one-en-sixpunce. Brer Rabbit stop, he did, en rap on de roof er Brer Tarrypin house."
"On the roof of his house, Uncle Remus?" interrupted the little boy.
"Co'se honey, Brer Tarrypin kyar his house wid 'im. Rain er shine, hot er col', strike up wid ole Brer Tarrypin w'en you will en w'ilst you may, en whar you fine 'im, dar you'll fine his shanty. Hit's des like I tell you. So den! Brer Rabbit he rap on de roof er Brer Tarrypin's house, he did, en ax wuz he in, en Brer Tarrypin 'low dat he wuz, en den Brer Rabbit, he ax 'im howdy, en den Brer Tarrypin he likewise 'spon' howdy, en den Brer Rabbit he say whar wuz Brer Tarrypin gwine, en Brer Tarrypin, he say w'ich he wern't gwine nowhar skasely. Den Brer Rabbit 'low he wuz on his way fer ter see Miss Meadows en de gals, en he ax Brer Tarrypin ef he won't jine in en go long, en Brer Tarrypin 'spon' he don't keer ef he do, en den dey sot out. Dey had plenty er time fer confabbin' 'long de way, but bimeby dey got dar, en Miss Meadows en de gals dey come ter de do', dey did, en ax um in, en in dey went.
"W'en dey got in, Brer Tarrypin wuz so flat-footed dat he wuz too low on de flo', en he wern't high nuff in a cheer, but while dey wuz all scrambling' 'roun' tryin' fer ter git Brer Tarrypin a cheer, Brer Rabbit, he pick 'im up en put 'im on de shelf whar de water-bucket sot, en ole Brer Tarrypin, he lay back up dar, he did, des es proud ez a nigger wid a cook possum.
"Co'se de talk fell on Brer Fox, en Miss Meadows en de gals make a great 'miration 'bout w'at a gaily ridin'-hoss Brer Fox wuz, en dey make lots er fun, en laugh en giggle same like gals duz deze days. Brer Rabbit, he sot dar in de cheer smokin' his seegyar, en he sorter cle'r up his th'oat, en say, sezee:
"I'd er rid 'im over dis mawnin', ladies,' sezee, but I rid 'im so hard yistiddy dat he went lame in de off fo' leg, en I speck I'll hatter swop 'im off yit,' sezee.
"Den Brer Tarrypin, he up'n say, sezee:
"'Well, ef you gwineter sell 'im, Brer Rabbit,' sezee, 'sell him some'rs out'n dis naberhood, kase he done bin yer too long now,' sezee. 'No longer'n day 'fo' yistiddy,' sezee, 'Brer Fox pass me on de road, en whatter you reckin he say?' sezee:
"'Law, Brer Tarrypin,' sez Miss Meadows, sez she, 'you don't mean ter say he cusst?' sez she, en den de gals hilt der fans up 'fo' der faces.
"'Oh, no, ma'am,' sez Brer Tarrypin, sezee, 'he didn't cusst, but he holler out—"Heyo, Stinkin' Jim!"' sezee.
"'Oh, my! You hear dat, gals?' sez Miss Meadows, sez she; 'Brer Fox call Brer Tarrypin Stinkin' Jim,' sez she, en den Miss Meadows en de gals make great wonderment how Brer Fox kin talk dat a way 'bout nice man like Brer Tarrypin.
"But bless grashus, honey! w'ilst all dis gwine on, Brer Fox wuz stannin' at de back do' wid one year at de cat-hole lissenin'. Eave-drappers don't hear no good er deyse'f, en de way Brer Fox wuz 'bused dat day wuz a caution.
"Bimeby Brer Fox stick his head in de do', en holler out:
"'Good evenin', fokes, I wish you mighty well,' sezee, en wid dat he make a dash for Brer Rabbit, but Miss Meadows en de gals dey holler en squall, dey did, en Brer Tarrypin he got ter scramblin' roun' up dar on de shelf, en off he come, en blip he tuck Brer Fox on de back er de head. Dis sorter stunted Brer Fox, en w'en he gedder his 'membunce de mos' he seed wuz a pot er greens turnt over in de fireplace, en a broke cheer. Brer Rabbit wuz gone, en Brer Tarrypin wuz gone, en Miss Meadows en de gals wuz gone.
"Where did the Rabbit go, Uncle Remus?" the little boy asked, after a pause.
"Bless yo' soul, honey! Brer Rabbit he skint up de chimbly—dat's w'at turnt de pot er greens over. Brer Tarrypin, he crope under de bed, he did, en got behime de cloze-chist, en Miss Meadows en de gals, dey run out in de yard.
"Brer Fox, he sorter look roun' en feel or de back er his head, whar Brer Tarrypin lit, but he don't see no sine er Brer Rabbit. But de smoke en de ashes gwine up de chimbly got de best er Brer Rabbit, en bimeby he sneeze—huckychow!
"'Aha!' sez Brer Fox, sezee; 'you er dar, is you?' sezee. 'Well, I'm gwineter smoke you out, ef it takes a mont'. You er mine dis time,' sezee. Brer Rabbit ain't Sayin' nuthin'.
"'Ain't you comin' down?' sez Brer Fox, sezee. Brer Rabbit ain't sayin' nuthin'. Den Brer Fox, he went out atter some wood, he did, en w'en he come back he hear Brer Rabbit laughin'.
"'W'at you laughin' at, Brer Rabbit?' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'Can't tell you, Brer Fox,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"'Better tell, Brer Rabbit,' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'Tain't nuthin' but a box er money somebody done gone en lef' up yer in de chink er de chimbly,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"'Don't b'leeve you,' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'Look up en see,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, en w'en Brer Fox look up, Brer Rabbit spit his eyes full er terbacker joose, he did, en Brer Fox, he make a break fer de branch, en Brer Rabbit he come down en tole de ladies good-by.
"'How you git 'im off, Brer Rabbit?' sez Miss Meadows, sez she.
"'Who? me?' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee; 'w'y I des tuck en tole 'im dat ef he didn't go 'long home en stop playin' his pranks on spectubble fokes, dat I'd take 'im out and th'ash 'im,' sezee."
"And what became of the Terrapin?" asked the little boy.
"Oh, well den!" exclaimed the old man, "chilluns can't speck ter know all 'bout eve'ything 'fo' dey git some res'. Dem eyelids er yone wanter be propped wid straws dis minnit."
XI. MR. WOLF MAKES A FAILURE
"I LAY yo' ma got comp'ny," said Uncle Remus, as the little boy entered the old man's door with a huge piece of mince-pie in his hand, 'en ef she ain't got comp'ny, den she done gone en drap de cubberd key som'ers whar you done run up wid it."
"Well, I saw the pie lying there, Uncle Remus, and I just thought I'd fetch it out to you."
"Tooby sho, honey," replied the old man, regarding the child with admiration. "Tooby sho, honey; dat changes marters. Chris'mus doin's is outer date, en dey ain't got no bizness layin' roun' loose. Dish yer pie," Uncle Remus continued, holding it up and measuring it with an experienced eye, "will gimme strenk fer ter persoo on atter Brer Fox en Brer Rabbit en de udder creeturs w'at dey roped in 'long wid um."
Here the old man paused, and proceeded to demolish the pie—a feat accomplished in a very short time. Then he wiped the crumbs from his beard and began:
"Brer Fox feel so bad, en he git so mad 'bout Brer Rabbit, dat he dunner w'at ter do, en he look mighty down-hearted. Bimeby, one day wiles he wuz gwine 'long de road, old Brer Wolf come up wid 'im. W'en dey done howdyin' en axin' atter one nudder's fambly connexshun, Brer Wolf, he 'low, he did, dat der wuz sump'n wrong wid Brer Fox, en Brer Fox, he 'low'd der wern't, en he went on en laugh en make great terdo kaze Brer Wolf look like he spishun sump'n. But Brer Wolf, he got mighty long head, en he sorter broach 'bout Brer Rabbit's kyar'ns on, kaze de way dat Brer Rabbit 'ceive Brer Fox done got ter be de talk er de naberhood. Den Brer Fox en Brer Wolf dey sorter palavered on, dey did, twel bimeby Brer Wolf he up'n say dat he done got plan fix fer ter trap Brer Rabbit. Den Brer Fox say how. Den Brer Wolf up'n tell 'im dat de way fer ter git de drap on Brer Rabbit wuz ter git 'im in Brer Fox house. Brer Fox dun know Brer Rabbit uv ole, en he know dat sorter game done wo' ter a frazzle, but Brer Wolf, he talk mighty 'swadin'.
"'How you gwine git 'im dar?' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'Fool 'im dar,' sez Brer Wolf, sezee.
"'Who gwine do de foolin'?' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'I'll do de foolin',' sez Brer Wolf, sezee, 'ef you'll do de gamin',' sezee.
"'How you gwine do it?' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'You run 'long home, en git on de bed, en make like you dead, en don't you say nothin' twel Brer Rabbit come en put his han's onter you,' sez Brer Wolf, sezee, 'en ef we don't git 'im fer supper, Joe's dead en Sal's a widder,' sezee.
"Dis look like mighty nice game, en Brer Fox 'greed. So den he amble off home, en Brer Wolf, he march off ter Brer Rabbit house. W'en he got dar, hit look like nobody at home, but Brer Wolf he walk up en knock on de do'—blam! blam! Nobody come. Den he lam aloose en knock 'gin—blim! blim!
"'Who dar?' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"'Fr'en',' sez Brer Wolf.
"'Too menny fr'en's spiles de dinner,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee; 'w'ich un's dis?' sezee.
"'I fetch bad news, Brer Rabbit,' sez Brer Wolf, sezee.
"'Bad news is soon tole,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"By dis time Brer Rabbit done come ter de do', wid his head tied up in a red hankcher.
"'Brer Fox died dis mornin',' sez Brer Wolf, sezee.
"'Whar yo' mo'nin' gown, Brer Wolf?' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"'Gwine atter it now,' sez Brer Wolf, sezee. 'I des call by fer ter bring de news. I went down ter Brer Fox house little bit 'go, en dar I foun' 'im stiff,' sezee.
"Den Brer Wolf lope off. Brer Rabbit sot down en scratch his head, he did, en bimeby he say ter hisse'f dat he b'leeve he sorter drap 'roun' by Brer Fox house fer ter see how de lan' lay. No sooner said'n done. Up he jump, en out he went. W'en Brer Rabbit got close ter Brer Fox house, all look lonesome. Den he went up nigher. Nobody stirrin'. Den he look in, en dar lay Brer Fox stretch out on de bed des es big ez life. Den Brer Rabbit make like he talkin' to hisse'f.
"'Nobody 'roun' fer ter look atter Brer Fox—not even Brer Tukkey Buzzard ain't come ter de funer'l,' sezee. 'I hope Brer Fox ain't dead, but I speck he is,' sezee. 'Even down ter Brer Wolf done gone en lef' 'im. Hit's de busy season wid me, but I'll set up wid 'im. He seem like he dead, yit he mayn't be,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. 'W'en a man go ter see dead fokes, dead fokes allers raises up der behime leg en hollers, wahoo!' sezee.
"Brer Fox he stay still. Den Brer Rabbit he talk little louder:
"'Mighty funny. Brer Fox look like he dead, yit he don't do like he dead. Dead fokes hists der behime leg en hollers wahoo! w'en a man come ter see um, sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"Sho' nuff, Brer Fox lif' up his foot en holler wahoo! en Brer Rabbit he tear out de house like de dogs wuz atter 'im. Brer Wolf mighty smart, but nex' time you hear fum 'im, honey, he'll be in trouble. You des hol' yo' breff'n wait."
XII. MR. FOX TACKLES OLD MAN TARRYPIN
"ONE day," said Uncle Remus, sharpening his knife on the palm of his hand—"one day Brer Fox strike up wid Brer Tarrypin right in de middle er de big road. Brer Tarrypin done heerd 'im comin', en he 'low ter hisse'f dat he'd sorter keep one eye open; but Brer Fox wuz monstus perlite, en he open up de confab, he did, like he ain't see Brer Tarrypin sence de las' freshit.
"'Heyo, Brer Tarrypin, whar you bin dis long-come-short?' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'Lounjun 'roun', Brer Fox, lounjun 'roun',' sez Brer Tarrypin.
"'You don't look sprucy like you did, Brer Tarrypin,' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'Lounjun 'roun' en suffer'n',' sez Brer Tarrypin, sezee.
"Den de talk sorter run on like dis:
"'W'at ail you, Brer Tarrypin? Yo' eye look mighty red,' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'Lor', Brer Fox, you dunner w'at trubble is. You ain't bin lounjun 'roun' en suffer'n',' sez Brer Tarrypin, sezee.
"'Bofe eyes red, en you look like you mighty weak, Brer Tarrypin,' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'Lor', Brer Fox, you dunner w'at trubble is,' sez Brer Tarrypin, sezee.
"'W'at ail you now, Brer Tarrypin?' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'Tuck a walk de udder day, en man come long en sot de fiel' a-fier. Lor', Brer Fox, you dunner w'at trubble is,' sez Brer Tarrypin, sezee.
"'How you git out de fier, Brer Tarrypin?' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'Sot en tuck it, Brer Fox,' sez Brer Tarrypin, sezee. 'Sot en tuck it, en de smoke sif' in my eye, en de fier scorch my back,' sez Brer Tarrypin, sezee.
"'Likewise hit bu'n yo' tail off,' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'Oh, no, dar's de tail, Brer Fox,' sez Brer Tarrypin, sezee, en wid dat he oncurl his tail fum under de shell, en no sooner did he do dat dan Brer Fox grab it, en holler out:
"'Oh, yes, Brer Tarrypin! Oh, yes! En so you er de man w'at lam me on de head at Miss Meadows's is you? You er in wid Brer Rabbit, is you? Well, I'm gwineter out you.'
"Brer Tarrypin beg en beg, but 'twan't no use. Brer Fox done been fool so much dat he look like he termin' fer ter have Brer Tarrypin haslett. Den Brer Tarrypin beg Brer Fox not fer ter drown 'im, but Brer Fox ain't makin' no prommus, en den he beg Brer Fox fer ter bu'n' 'im, kase he done useter fier, but Brer Fox don't say nuthin'. Bimeby Brer Fox drag Brer Tarrypin off little ways b'low de spring-'ouse, en souze him under de water. Den Brer Tarrypin begin fer ter holler:
"'Tu'n loose dat stump root en ketch holt er me—tu'n loose dat stump root en ketch holt er me.'
"Brer Fox he holler back:
"'I ain't got holt er no stump root, en I is got holt er you.'
"Brer Tarrypin he keep on holler'n:
"'Ketch holt er me—I'm a drownin'—I'm a drownin'—tu'n loose de stump root en ketch holt er me.'
"Sho nuff, Brer Fox tu'n loose de tail, en Brer Tarrypin, he went down ter de bottom—kerblunkity-blink!"
No typographical combination or description could do justice to the guttural sonorousness—the peculiar intonation—which Uncle Remus imparted to this combination. It was so peculiar, indeed, that the little boy asked:
"How did he go to the bottom, Uncle Remus?"
"Was he drowned, Uncle Remus?"
"Who? Ole man Tarrypin? Is you drowndid w'en yo' ma tucks you in de bed?"
"Well, no," replied the little boy, dubiously.
"Ole man Tarrypin 'wuz at home I tell you, honey. Kerblinkity- blunk!"
XIII. THE AWFUL FATE OF MR. WOLF
UNCLE REMUS was half-soling one of his shoes, and his Miss Sally's little boy had been handling his awls, his hammers, and his knives to such an extent that the old man was compelled to assume a threatening attitude; but peace reigned again, and the little boy perched himself on a chair, watching Uncle Remus driving in pegs.
"Folks w'at's allers pesterin' people, en bodderin' 'longer dat w'at ain't der'n, don't never come ter no good een'. Dar wuz Brer Wolf; stidder mindin' un his own bizness, he hatter take en go in pardnerships wid Brer Fox, en dey want skacely a minnit in de day dat he want atter Brer Rabbit, en he kep' on en kep' on twel fus' news you knowed he got kotch up wid—en he got kotch up wid monstus bad."
"Goodness, Uncle Remus! I thought the Wolf let the Rabbit alone, after he tried to fool him about the Fox being dead."
"Better lemme tell dish yer my way. Bimeby hit'll be yo' bed time, en Miss Sally'll be a hollerin' atter you, en you'll be a whimplin' roun', en den Mars John'll fetch up de re'r wid dat ar strop w'at I made fer im."
The child laughed, and playfully shook his fist in the simple, serious face of the venerable old darkey, but said no more. Uncle Remus waited awhile to be sure there was to be no other demonstration, and then proceeded:
"Brer Rabbit ain't see no peace w'atsumever. He can't leave home 'cep' Brer Wolf 'ud make a raid en tote off some er de fambly. Brer Rabbit b'ilt 'im a straw house, en hit wuz tored down; den he made a house out'n pine-tops, en dat went de same way; den he made 'im a bark house, en dat wuz raided on, en eve'y time he los' a house he los' one er his chilluns. Las' Brer Rabbit got mad, he did, en cusst, en den he went off, he did, en got some kyarpinters, en dey b'ilt 'im a plank house wid rock foundashuns. Atter dat he could have some peace en quietness. He could go out en pass de time er day 'wid his neighbors, en come back en set by de fier, en smoke his pipe, en read de newspapers same like enny man w'at got a fambly. He made a hole, he did, in de cellar whar de little Rabbits could hide out w'en dar wuz much uv a racket in de neighborhood, en de latch er de front do' kotch on de inside. Brer Wolf, he see how de lan' lay, he did, en he lay low. De little Rabbits was mighty skittish, but hit got so dat col' chills ain't run up Brer Rabbit's back no mo' w'en he heerd Brer Wolf go gallopin' by.
"Bimeby, one day w'en Brer Rabbit wuz fixin' fer ter call on Miss Coon, he heerd a monstrus fuss en clatter up de big road, en 'mos' 'fo' he could fix his years fer ter lissen, Brer Wolf run in de do'. De little Rabbits dey went inter dere hole in de cellar, dey did, like blowin' out a cannle. Brer Wolf Wuz far'ly kivver'd wid mud, en mighty nigh outer win'.
"'Oh, do pray save me, Brer Rabbit!' sez Brer Wolf, sezee. 'Do please, Brer Rabbit! de dogs is atter me, en dey 'll t'ar me up. Don't you year um comin'? Oh, do please save me, Brer Rabbit! Hide me some'rs whar de dogs won't git me.'
"No quicker sed dan done.
"'Jump in dat big chist dar, Brer Wolf,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee; 'jump in dar en make yo'se'f at home.'
"In jump Brer Wolf, down come the led, en inter de hasp went de hook, en dar Mr. Wolf wuz. Den Brer Rabbit went ter de lookin'- glass, he did, en wink at hisse'f, en den he draw'd de rockin'- cheer in front er de fier, he did, en tuck a big chaw terbacker."
"Tobacco, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy, incredulously.
"Rabbit terbacker, honey. You know dis yer life ev'lastin' w'at Miss Sally puts 'mong de cloze in de trunk; well, dat's rabbit terbacker. Den Brer Rabbit sot dar long time, he did, turnin' his mine over en wukken his thinkin' masheen. Bimeby he got up, en sorter stir 'roun'. Den Brer Wolf open up:
"'Is de dogs all gone, Brer Rabbit?'
"'Seem like I hear one un um smellin' roun' de chimbly-cornder des now.'
"Den Brer Rabbit git de kittle en fill it full er water, en put it on de fier.
"'W'at you doin' now, Brer Rabbit?'
"'I'm fixin fer ter make you a nice cup er tea, Brer Wolf.'
"Den Brer Rabbit went ter de cubberd en git de gimlet, en commence for ter bo' little holes in de chist-lid.
"'W'at you doin' now, Brer Rabbit?'
"'I'm bo'in' little holes so you kin get bref, Brer Wolf.'
"Den Brer Rabbit went out en git some mo' wood, en fling it on de fier.
"'W'at you doin' now, Brer Rabbit?'
"'I'm a chunkin' up de fier so you won't git col', Brer Wolf.'
"Den Brer Rabbit went down inter de cellar en fotch out all his chilluns.
"'W'at you doin' now, Brer Rabbit?'
"'I'm a tellin' my chilluns w'at a nice man you is, Brer Wolf.'
"En de chilluns, dey had ter put der han's on der moufs fer ter keep fum laffin'. Den Brer Rabbit he got de kittle en commenced fer to po' de hot water on de chist-lid.
"'W'at dat I hear, Brer Rabbit?'
"'You hear de win' a blowin', Brer Wolf.'
"Den de water begin fer ter sif' thoo.
"'W'at dat I feel, Brer Rabbit?'
"'You feels de fleas a bitin', Brer Wolf.'
"'Dey er bitin' mighty hard, Brer Rabbit.'
"'Tu'n over on de udder side, Brer Wolf.'
"'W'at dat I feel now, Brer Rabbit?'
"'Still you feels de fleas, Brer Wolf.'
"'Dey er eatin' me up, Brer Rabbit,' en dem wuz de las words er Brer Wolf, kase de scaldin' water done de bizness.
"Den Brer Rabbit call in his neighbors, he did, en dey hilt a reg'lar juberlee; en ef you go ter Brer Rabbit's house right now, I dunno but w'at you'll fine Brer Wolfs hide hangin' in de back- po'ch, en all bekaze he wuz so bizzy wid udder fo'kses doin's."
XIV. MR. FOX AND THE DECEITFUL FROGS
WHEN the little boy ran in to see Uncle Remus the night after he had told him of the awful fate of Brer Wolf, the only response to his greeting was:
No explanation could convey an adequate idea of the intonation and pronunciation which Uncle Remus brought to bear upon this wonderful word. Those who can recall to mind the peculiar gurgling, jerking, liquid sound made by pouring water from a large jug, or the sound produced by throwing several stones in rapid succession into a pond of deep water, may be able to form a very faint idea of the sound, but it can not be reproduced in print. The little boy was astonished.
"What did you say, Uncle Remus?"
"I-doom-er-ker-kum-mer-ker! I-doom-er-ker-kum mer-ker!"
"What is that?"
"Dat's Tarrypin talk, dat is. Bless yo' soul, honey," continued the old man, brightening up, "w'en you git ole ez me—w'en you see w'at I sees, en year w'at I years—de creeturs dat you can't talk wid'll be mighty skase—dey will dat. W'y, der's er old gray rat w'at uses 'bout yer, en time atter time he comes out w'en you all done gone ter bed en sets up dar in de cornder en dozes, en me en him talks by de 'our; en w'at dat old rat dunno ain't down in de spellin' book. Des now, w'en you run in and broke me up, I wuz fetchin' into my mine w'at Brer Tarrypin say ter Brer Fox w'en he turn 'im loose in de branch."
"What did he say, Uncle Remus?"
"Dat w'at he said—I-doom-er-ker-kum-mer-ker! Brer Tarrypin wuz at de bottom er de pon', en he talk back, he did, in bubbles—I- doom-er-ker-kum-mer-ker! Brer Fox, he ain't sayin' nuthin', but Brer Bull-Frog, settin' on de bank, he hear Brer Tarrypin, he did, en he holler back:
"Den Brer Frog holler out: 'Knee-deep! Knee-deep!'
"Den ole Brer Bull-Frog, he holler back: 'Don'-you-ber-lieve-'im! Don't-you-ber-lieve-'im!'
"Den de bubbles come up fum Brer Tarrypin: 'I-doom-er-ker-kum- mer-ker!'
"Den Brer Frog sing out: 'Wade in! Wade in!'
"Den ole Brer Bull-Frog talk thoo his ho'seness: 'Dar-you'll- fine-yo'-brudder! Dar-you'll-fine-yo'-brudder!'
"Sho nuff, Brer Fox look over de bank, he did, en dar wuz n'er Fox lookin' at 'im outer de water. Den he retch out fer ter shake han's, en in he went, heels over head, en Brer Tarrypin bubble out:
"Was the Fox drowned, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy.
"He weren't zackly drowndid, honey," replied the old man, With an air of cautious reserve. "He did manage fer ter scramble out, but a little mo' en de Mud Turkle would er got 'im, en den he'd er bin made hash un worl' widout een'."
XV. MR. FOX GOES A-HUNTING, BUT MR. RABBIT BAGS THE GAME
"ATTER Brer Fox hear 'bout how Brer Rabbit done Brer Wolf," said Uncle Remus, scratching his head with the point of his awl, 'he 'low, he did, dat he better not be so brash, en he sorter let Brer Rabbit 'lone. Dey wuz all time seein' one nudder, en 'bunnunce er times Brer Fox could er nab Brer Rabbit, but eve'y time he got de chance, his mine 'ud sorter rezume 'bout Brer Wolf, en he let Brer Rabbit 'lone. Bimeby dey 'gun ter git kinder familious wid wunner nudder like dey useter, en it got so Brer Fox'd call on Brer Rabbit, en dey'd set up en smoke der pipes, dey would, like no ha'sh feelin's 'd ever rested 'twixt um.
"Las', one day Brer Fox come 'long all rig out, en ax Brer Rabbit fer ter go huntin' wid 'im, but Brer Rabbit, he sorter feel lazy, en he tell Brer Fox dat he got some udder fish fer ter fry. Brer Fox feel mighty sorry, he did, but he say he bleeve he try his han' enny how, en off he put. He wuz gone all day, en he had a monstus streak er luck, Brer Fox did, en he bagged a sight er game. Bimeby, to'rds de shank er de evenin', Brer Rabbit sorter stretch hisse'f, he did, en 'low hit's mos' time fer Brer Fox fer ter git 'long home. Den Brer Rabbit, he went'n mounted a stump fer ter see ef he could year Brer Fox comin'. He ain't bin dar long, twel sho' enuff, yer come Brer Fox thoo de woods, singing like a nigger at a frolic. Brer Rabbit, he lipt down off'n de stump, he did, en lay down in de road en make like he dead. Brer Fox he come 'long, he did, en see Brer Rabbit layin' dar. He tu'n 'im over, he did, en 'zamine 'im, en say, sezee:
"'Dish yer rabbit dead. He look like he bin dead long time. He dead, but he mighty fat. He de fattes' rabbit w'at I ever see, but he bin dead too long. I feard ter take 'im home,' sezee.
"Brer Rabbit ain't sayin' nuthin'. Brer Fox, he sorter lick his chops, but he went on en lef' Brer Rabbit layin' in de road. Dreckly he wuz outer sight, Brer Rabbit, he jump up, he did, en run roun' thoo de Woods en git befo Brer Fox agin. Brer Fox, he come up, en dar lay Brer Rabbit, periently col' en stiff. Brer Fox, he look at Brer Rabbit, en he sorter study. Atter while he onslung his game-bag, en say ter hisse'f, sezee:
"'Deze yer rabbits gwine ter was'e. I'll des 'bout leave my game yer, en I'll go back'n git dat udder rabbit, en I'll make fokes b'leeve dat I'm ole man Hunter fum Huntsville,' sezee.
"En wid dat he drapt his game en loped back up de road atter de udder rabbit, en w'en he got outer sight, ole Brer Rabbit, he snatch up Brer Fox game en put out fer home. Nex' time he see Brer Fox he holler out:
"'What you kill de udder day, Brer Fox?' sezee.
"Den Brer Fox, he sorter koam his flank wid his tongue, en holler back:
"'I kotch a han'ful er hard sense, Brer Rabbit,' sezee.
"Den ole Brer Rabbit, he laff, he did, en up en 'spon', sezee: 'Ef I'd a know'd you wuz atter dat, Brer Fox, I'd a loant you some er mine,' sezee."
XVI. OLD MR. RABBIT, HE'S A GOOD FISHERMAN
"BRER RABBIT en Brer Fox wuz like some chilluns w'at I knows un," said Uncle Remus, regarding the little boy, who had come to hear another story, with an affectation of great solemnity. "Bofe un um wuz allers atter wunner nudder, a prankin' en a pesterin' 'roun', but Brer Rabbit did had some peace, kaze Brer Fox done got skittish 'bout puttin' de clamps on Brer Rabbit.
"One day, w'en Brer Rabbit, en Brer Fox, en Brer Coon, en Brer B'ar, en a whole lot un um wuz clearin' up a new groun' fer ter plant a roas'n'-year patch, de sun gun ter git sorter hot, en Brer Rabbit he got tired; but he didn't let on, kaze he fear'd de balance un um'd call 'im lazy, en he keep on totin' off trash en pilin' up bresh, twel bimeby he holler out dat he gotter brier in his han', en den he take'n slip off, en hunt fer cool place fer ter res'. Atter w'ile he come crosst a well wid a bucket hangin' in it.
"'Dat look cool,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'en cool I speck she is. I'll des 'bout git in dar en take a nap,' en wid dat in he jump, he did, en he ain't no sooner fix hisse'f dan de bucket 'gun ter go down."
"Wasn't the Rabbit scared, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy.
"Honey, dey ain't been no wusser skeer'd beas' sence de worl' begin dan dish yer same Brer Rabbit. He fa'rly had a agur. He know whar he cum fum, but he dunner whar he gwine. Dreckly he feel de bucket hit de water, en dar she sot, but Brer Rabbit he keep mighty still, kaze he dunner w'at minnit gwineter be de nex'. He des lay dar en shuck en shiver.
"Brer Fox allers got one eye on Brer Rabbit, en w'en he slip off fum de new groun', Brer Fox he sneak atter 'im. He know Brer Rabbit wuz atter some projick er nudder, en he tuck'n crope off, he did, en watch 'im. Brer Fox see Brer Rabbit come to de well en stop, en den he see 'im jump in de bucket, en den, lo en behol's, he see 'im go down outer sight. Brer Fox wuz de mos' 'stonish Fox dat you ever laid eyes on. He sot off dar in de bushes en study en study, but he don't make no head ner tails ter dis kinder bizness. Den he say ter hisse'f, sezee:
"'Well, ef dis don't bang my times,' sezee, 'den Joe's dead en Sal's a widder. Right down dar in dat well Brer Rabbit keep his money hid, en ef 'tain't dat den he done gone en 'skiver'd a gole-mine, en ef 'tain't dat, den I'm a gwineter see w'at's in dar,' sezee.
"Brer Fox crope up little nigher, he did, en lissen, but he don't year no fuss, en he keep on gittin' nigher, en yit he don't year nuthin'. Bimeby he git up close en peep down, but he don't see nuthin' en he don't year nuthin'. All dis time Brer Rabbit mighty nigh skeer'd outen his skin, en he fear'd fer ter move kaze de bucket might keel over en spill him out in de water. W'ile he sayin' his pra'rs over like a train er kyars runnin', ole Brer Fox holler out:
"'Heyo, Brer Rabbit! Who you wizzitin' down dar?' sezee.
"'Who? Me? Oh, I'm des a fishin', Brer Fox,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. 'I des say ter myse'f dat I'd sorter sprize you all wid a mess er fishes fer dinner, en so here I is, en dar's de fishes. I'm a fishin' fer suckers, Brer Fox,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"'Is dey many un um down dar, Brer Rabbit?' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"'Lots un um, Brer Fox; scoze en scoze un um. De water is natchully 'live wid um. Come down en he'p me haul um in, Brer Fox,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
"'How I gwineter git down, Brer Rabbit?'
"'Jump inter de bucket, Brer Fox. Hit'll fetch you down all safe en soun'.'
"Brer Rabbit talk so happy en talk so sweet dat Brer Fox he jump in de bucket, he did, en, ez he went down, co'se his weight pull Brer Rabbit up. W'en dey pass one nudder on de half-way growl', Brer Rabbit he sing out:
"'Good-by, Brer Fox, take keer yo' cloze, Fer dis is de way de worl' goes; Some goes up en some goes down, You'll git ter de bottom all safe en soun'.' *1
"W'en Brer Rabbit got out, he gallop off en tole de fokes w'at de well blong ter dat Brer Fox wuz down in dar muddyin' up de drinkin' water, en den he gallop back ter de well, en holler down ter Brer Fox:
"'Ye come a man wid a great big gun—W'en he haul you up, you jump en run."'
"What then, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy, as the old man paused.
"In des 'bout half 'n hour, honey, bofe un um wuz back in de new groun' wukkin' des like dey never heer'd er no well, ceppin' dat eve'y now'n den Brer Rabbit'd bust out in er laff, en old Brer Fox, he'd git a spell er de dry grins."
*1 As a Northern friend suggests that this story may be somewhat obscure, it may be as well to state that the well is supposed to be supplied with a rope over a wheel, or pulley, with a bucket at each end.
XVII. MR. RABBIT NIBBLES UP THE BUTTER
'"DE animils en de creeturs," said Uncle Remus, shaking his coffee around in the bottom of his tin-cup, in order to gather up all the sugar, 'dey kep' on gittin' mo' en mo' familious wid wunner nudder, twel bimeby, 'twan't long 'fo' Brer Rabbit, en Brer Fox, en Brer Possum got ter sorter bunchin' der perwishuns tergedder in de same shanty. Atter w'ile de roof sorter 'gun ter leak, en one day Brer Rabbit, en Brer Fox, en Brer Possum, 'semble fer ter see ef dey can't kinder patch her up. Dey had a big day's work in front un um, en dey fotch der dinner wid um. Dey lump de vittles up in one pile, en de butter w'at Brer Fox brung, dey goes en puts in de spring-'ouse fer ter keep cool, en den dey went ter wuk, en 'twan't long 'fo' Brer Rabbit's stummuck 'gun ter sorter growl en pester 'im. Dat butter er Brer Fox sot heavy on his mine, en his mouf water eve'y time he 'member 'bout it. Present'y he say ter hisse'f dat he bleedzd ter have a nip at dat butter, en den he lay his plans, he did. Fus' news you know, w'ile dey wuz all wukkin' long, Brer Rabbit raise his head quick en fling his years forerd en holler out: